A procession that seemed interminable, composed of eight thousand women, was crossing the Barcas Bridge going towards Binondo. They were the cigarette girls of La Fábrica de Tabacos del Fortin on their way home.
Chang-Chuy enjoyed watching them. He admired their easy manner, the peculiar sound of so many slippers and the constant swinging of their arms.
Chang saw one with a coquettish expression who smiled at him affectionately as she passed by. This pleased Chang so that after saying good-bye to his fellow Chinese, he followed the girl.
When the cigarrera noticed that Chang was following her, she turned to face him and said in a special language that many indios speak:
“¿Cosa quiere suya conmigo”(What do you want with me)?
“Mia quiele placticalo” (I wish to speak to you) , answered Chang, speaking in broken Spanish as they usually do there.
“¿Y para cosa” (What for) ?
Because you are magandan dalaga.
“¡Aba!“ She exclaimed. “This Chinaman is falling in love with me!”
“Yes, icao mariquit” (Yes, you are pretty)
“Kansia (Thanks)”, she answered him in Chinese.
“Mia quiele mucho con suya y tiene cualtas para puede compla saya y candonga” (I like you very mucha and I have money to buy you a skirt and a carriage), Chang insisted.
When she heard the word cualtas (money), the girl’s eyes opened wide like windows.
“Very well,” she said, “ Sigue suya conmigo para habla bueno-bueno con aquel mi tia” (Follow me so you can have a good talk with my aunt).
Chang-Chuy, noting her willingness, was pleased to accompany her. She lived in Sibacon. The careless Sangley talked to the aunt of that Venus called Quicay (nickname for Francisca). The aunt, who was very shrewed, allowed him to have an affair with her niece after he made a formal marriage proposal.
Chang agreed to whatever the two women wanted, and returned home happily because he had at last found an india who loved him.
Don José Montero Y Vidal
English Translation from the Book “Cuentos Filipinos” published by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2004 (Renán S. Prado, et al.).